I’ve written before about the astronomical alignments of the Minoan temple complexes, but the big temples that were the centerpieces of the towns in ancient Crete weren’t the only places the Minoans went for worship. The island of Crete is ringed by lovely flat beaches, but the center is filled with mountains that rise more than a mile high. Some of these mountain peaks were sacred places to the ancient Minoans. They built pilgrimage roads up the mountainsides to shrines and sanctuary buildings at the peaks.
These peak sanctuaries were popular places for sacred pilgrimages as well as official religious celebrations. Some of them were built with purposeful astronomical alignments as well, mostly due east, the direction of sunrise on the equinoxes. But their pattern of use changed over the centuries that they were active sacred sites and some of the sanctuaries fell out of use altogether while others continued to be the focus of religious activities.
These days when we consult an architect to create a new building, we generally orient it with the front toward the street that will access the building, for convenience and practicality. But in much of the ancient world, each new building was carefully oriented toward one or more cardinal directions or astronomical alignments. Ancient Crete was no different. The temple complexes at Knossos, Phaistos, Zakros, and other Minoan cities and towns were built to align to a variety of related astronomical events.
For the most part, the celestial events the Minoan buildings align to are risings of various sorts: sunrise, moonrise, the rising of the planet Venus, and the heliacal rising of certain stars. These astronomical events held a special place in Minoan religion, marking sacred times of the year, and also helped to maintain the Minoans’ complicated lunisolar calendar.
It's the first Airy Monday of the year, and today's Beagle post concentrates on that most "Airy" of realms -- space! A guide to skywatching; 2015 space exploration events; life on Mars?; the search for E.T.s; Mercury Retrograde.
The editors at IFL Science have thoughtfully created this guide to skywatching for 2015. Get out your home telescope or binoculars, and look up!
Today's Airy Monday (posted in advance on Sunday since the Beagle will be out of town Monday morning) focuses on something different: Sagittarius. (The Pagan News Beagle confesses that his writer has Sag rising, so he's got a particular liking for this sign.) And as we just entered this sign on Nov 22, let's celebrate our movement into the Sagittarius season! "Interstellar" Sag energy; E.T. the Sagittarian?; nebulas in Sagittarius; new chemicals in the deep space of Sagittarius; who is Chiron, the patron of Sagittarius?
At her "Gateway Goddess" blog, Cathy Nance opines that Christopher Nolan's new film "Interstellar" perfectly embodies the energy of Sagittarius.
Howdy and Good Monday, Beagle fans! Today we have an Airy Monday featuring stories for looking up (astronomy) and looking into the past (archaeology.) First, in space: check out the upcoming Solar Eclipse; photos from an astronaut orbiting Earth; the supercluster Laniakea. Next, in the past: discovery of a shrine to Brigitana in England; the tomb of the father of Alexander the Great; and the great Sex and Death mystery rituals of the past.
Happy Equinox! (It's so fun that the whole planet shares this holiday!) Today our Airy Monday feed focuses on archaeology and space science, with revelations from Greece, European ancestors, Venus figurines, Mars exploration and the wonders of studying space. Enjoy your Monday!
Anyone who follows Greek archaeology will enjoy these recent revelations from a mysterious tomb at Amphipolis.
We need not feel ashamed of flirting with the zodiac. The zodiac is well worth flirting with.~D.H. Lawrence
I find that a lot of people shy away from astrology because they believe it is based on incorrect astronomy, and so cannot possibly give accurate information. Perhaps they’ve seen a video by Bill Nye or Neil deGrasse Tyson taking about how the constellations don’t line up with the signs anymore, and that pesky “extra” constellation (or two). Unfortunately, both Nye and Tyson are clearly ignorant about astrology — a great deal more ignorant than most astrologers are about astronomy. We are not only fully aware of the positions of the constellations, the precession of the equinoxes and the fact that the Earth revolves around the Sun (OK, I’ll try to tone back the sarcasm) but astrology is divided into two major branches based on how we deal with the constellations (groupings of stars) and the precession of the equinoxes.
I’m not going to address the different types of sidereal astrology, of which Vedic astrology is one. Sidereal astrology carefully makes allowances for the precession of the equinoxes, because it works with the positions of the signs relative to the constellations. I’m going to explain the basis of Western astrology, a tropical astrology, which determines the position of the signs relative to the ecliptic, the apparent path of the Sun around the Earth. I find that a number of astrology students worry about learning the “technical” side, but while the math of astrology can get complex, the basic astronomy really isn’t very difficult to understand, and understanding it will give you considerably more insight into the craft than you could possibly have without it. So I encourage you to take a deep breath and jump into the learning — I’ll make this as easy as possible. Ready? OK, let’s start.